Sooke fire commission end a shock to members

A decision by district council last week to quietly disband the Sooke Fire Services Commission has enflamed members of the commission.

A decision by district council last week to quietly disband the Sooke Fire Services Commission has enflamed members of the commission.

“The commission is aghast, to be completely honest,” said commission chair Ken Ebbs-Canavan. “We have no idea why. We weren’t given a reason.”

The commission was created by council a year ago to conduct “long-term capital planning [with] high level overview,” according to a staff report. The overview included budgets, research, and to look at staffing levels and equipment replacement, among other items.

The commission was expected to have a two-year mandate, with council having the option to review it after one year.

Council in an in-camera meeting on Oct. 11 decided to dissolve the fire commission.

“The commission met our targets,” said Mayor Maja Tait. “It has given us things to contemplate as we move forward and continue our reorganization.”

The commission was informed of its demise through email, said Ebbs-Canavan, adding the commission was close to finishing its final report.

“For us not to be able to give the report to the citizens of this community, I’m absolutely aghast because this was what we were asked to do,” he said.

Earlier this year, at an open council meeting, the commission presented a general report and also made budget recommendations. Those items were accepted unanimously by council. In May, other recommendations on personnel and on the  provincially-mandated fire audit were presented to council in-camera.

Up to that point there was a free flow of information, Ebbs-Canavan said.

But things changed – among them was the commission not allowed to talk to interim fire chief Russ Cameron. Information from municipal hall was also limited.

Council never met with the commission, Tait said because of the structure of a commission. A commission has different rules of order from a committee, where there is a council liaison and the mayor has ex officio status.

With a commission, staff meet with commission members, in this case in-camera, and report to the chief administrative officer.

Neither Tait or CAO Teresa Sullivan would comment on anything from in-camera meetings.

Tait said she was unaware of the commission being close to completing its final report.

“It just seemed timely to end the commission. We’re entering into our strategic planning and we also had a commission member resign. We would have to advertise for a new member before [it] could continue, so it just seemed like a natural standpoint to come to an end,” she said.

The Sooke Fire Services Commission included Ebbs-Canavan, Cameron MacIntyre and Murray Lambert. Commission members receive an annual honourarium of $2,500.

 

Just Posted

Welcome to Victoria, where a street can have four names

From Oak Bay to View Royal, street names change as the roadways twist and turn

Port Renfrew man charged with animal cruelty

Hot coffee poured on dog’s face, say police

Sooke cougar sighting unconfirmed

Boy had a close encounter with the big cat

Central Saanich makes moves to alieviate business transit concerns

Councillor calls for enhanced service and long-term transit passes

Garbage piles up at Mount Doug Park in Saanich

Local resident blames the design of the garbage bins

VIDEO: B.C. MLA Michelle Stilwell takes first steps in nearly 30 years

‘It actually felt like walking. It’s been 27 years… but it felt realistic to me’

Report of dead body in B.C. park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

Grand Forks fire chief found to have bullied, harassed volunteer firefighter: report

WorkSafeBC, third-party human resources investigation looking into allegations complete

Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

Nick Major, 21, an instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts in Parksville

15-year-old with imitation gun caused ‘dynamic’ scene at Nanaimo mall

No one was harmed in Monday’s incident, say Nanaimo RCMP

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

Most Read